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Home Buyers--California Condominiums Are An Attractive Homeownership Option

Nef Cortez

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With the median home price of a single family home in California at $567,690, according to the California Association of Realtors, condominiums have become an increasingly attractive home ownership option for singles, young couples, young families and retired couples as starter homes as opposed to the traditional detached single family home.

Condos are usually located in well established, proven suburban neighborhoods and yet are usually located close to major freeways which provide the homeowner with accessibility to the workplace. Some condos are the same size as houses in regard to square footage, and others have the square footage of comparable apartments. They vary in price range and can be a good starter home for young couples or singles. While the rapid price appreciation in the state, especially in the Los Angeles, California area, has accelerated the price of single family homes, according to a California Association of Realtors report it has also strained the purchasing ability of many young families. Many young couples therefore may often opt for a condominium in a neighborhood with a better school system as opposed to purchasing a single family home in a less desirable neighborhood.

As for retired couples who may just want to downsize and avoid being saddled with the responsibility for exterior lawn maintenance, they usually have the equity and credit rating to buy in more luxurious condominiums in the Diamond Bar, California community for example, where luxurious, 1400 sq. ft, 2 ½ bedroom condos with European kitchens start at $550,000.

Condominiums have proven to be almost as profitable in the last five years as compared to investments in single family detached homes. The rate of appreciation of condominiums and single family detached homes over the last five years has been similar in the communities of Diamond Bar, Walnut, and Rowland Heights, with both exceeding 20% annually. However, as the market has cooled and there has been a price correction in available condominiums, they still are a very good investment.

One thing to keep in mind is that when you buy a condo, you are also buying into the entire building, or common areas, in which your condo is located. As a co-owner of the building, and very often through the property's homeowner's association, you will be assessed your proportional share of the cost for repairs required in common areas, such as the roof, heating system, or general exterior maintenance. These costs need to be factored into your overall monthly budget.

Condominiums can be a great investment as they can enable the home buyer the opportunity to live in a much more desirable neighborhood as well as provide the homeowner the tax benefits of homeownership. The sale prices for condominiums generally sell for 20 to 30 percent less than similar detached single family homes. You will have all the amenities of owning your own home, but will be able to share the cost of upkeep on the building, roof, and maintenance. For most buyers priced out of the single family home market, the choice is to buy a condo that meets their living needs, builds equity and improves their credit rating- or continue to rent. The choice seems pretty clear!

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Nef Cortez has been a licensed real estate broker and has held various positions in the real estate industry for over 25+ years. Visit his website at Chino Hills CA Real Estate for information on foreclosures.


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